In a disappointing move, the Board of Regents named only one finalist in its presidential search. Eric KalerâÄôs credentials, though, are not disappointing. After receiving his PhD from the University of Minnesota, Kaler âÄî who has more than 200 papers and 10 patents to his name âÄî went on to a successful career as an academic. He climbed from professor to department chairman and then dean at the University of Delaware. Next, he took over as provost at Stony Brook University at a time when it was experiencing budget cuts similar to those experienced by the University of Minnesota.
Success at every level of his career points toward his leadership abilities. What remains to be seen is how he would lead this university.
We have argued that the next president must be a crusader for students capable of lobbying for more funding from the legislature. Kaler has said that his âÄújob No. 1âÄù will be to work with state lawmakers.
Kaler has also said, âÄúThe University is first and foremost a research institution.âÄù During his tenure as provost, his current school saw an expansion of graduate programs and research programs.
This leaves us wondering where undergraduate education, especially in the liberal arts, falls on KalerâÄôs list of priorities.
These doubts should be dispelled later this week when Kaler comes to campus to meet with students, staff, administration and faculty. His campus appearances are opportunities for the public to evaluate whether he should be the next University president. It is a time to ask tough questions, listen to the answers, and decide if the regents have chosen the right person for the job.